While there is no telling how the negotiations for payment of bagasse will end, there is one thing for sure, there is more trouble brewing in the horizon. We are talking about the drastic cut in prices paid for sugar sold to E.U. member states that will come in full effect in 2017. Belize as well as African, Caribbean and Pacific countries stand to lose millions of dollars if certain changes in the industry are not made.
Now this is something all stakeholders in the industry are well aware of and should be preparing for. On their part BSI/ASR says they are looking at major change in the factory but in the case of the industry it takes two make the relationship work. Meaning the miller and the producer have to be on the same page in order for the industry to survive the wrath of 2017.
Belizario Carballo- BSI/ASR Financial Director
“Production of sugar in Belize and so for all of these reasons and also for the reason very importantly that in 2017 there will be significant changes in the EU market which we estimate to have an impact on price of about 20% so significant impact on prices, there is a lot of uncertainty in respect of what would be the actual level of reductions so reductions there will be so the reduction will be to be opened up to the EU and the EU can produce at a much cheaper rate and so the demand for our sugar will drop and so we expect that the price for that sugar will also drop so whilst we retain that market access the value of that market access will be diminished and so we see it important for us to start engaging farmers, engaging government and other stakeholders in the process of coming up with a plan that would enable us to whether this impact and we will have a long success in terms of maintaining viability in the sugar industry but that clearly can’t occur right now because we are being bugged down by this bagasse issue and that is why we need to move beyond this bagasse issue, we need to conclude, we are prepared to conclude, we want to conclude, but it has to be on the basis of something realistic and affordable and something that is justifiable and we need to conclude with all agreement that it is clarity in terms of what business we are in so that we can jointly think of taking on these new investments and preparing for 2017, that is a process that I think that it will involve all stakeholders, the farmers have a role to play clearly we need to increase productivity in the field, the average ton per acres is 17 that has to increase to 28 currently we are recommending that if there will be any movement in terms of increasing cane it should be in terms of replanting old fields, not increasing to new fields but just replanting existing fields so that you could have vertical expansion but we are concern because if farmers are currently encourage to plant cane and there is the support to finance their operation where will that cane go in a few years’ time when we are above 1.3 and the factory is not in a position to expand and so these are issue of pressing concern and is pressing not only for the immediacy of having a home for cane when it is grown but also to be able to meet the challenges of 2017.”